James “Blood” Ulmer

In and Out
In and Out Records
James “Blood” Ulmer

James "Blood" UlmerSometimes called a “modern bluesman,” James “Blood” Ulmer covers ground from Hendrix to Ornette Coleman to John Lee Hooker. His music is never dull; always a bit challenging, it’s also fun.

His new disc starts with the menacing boogie of “No Man’s Land” and its growled, anti-war lyric highlighted by frantic, stabbing leads. Things change with “A Thing For Joe,” a free-form jazz tune with punchy solos and chromatic runs. Mid-way, Ulmer breaks into a swinging flute solo!

“Eviction” is a whimsical jazz tune, tightly arranged, but with the loose feel that is his style. “Baby Talk” is a pop/funk concoction with percolating guitar and fine wah, while “Maya” is a soul tune with a lovely guitar line and an oddly sweet free-form solo out. For sheer jazz chops, check out the swinging jazz/blues of the closer, “Backbiter.”

The band follows Ulmer perfectly, wherever he goes – Mark Peterson (bass) and Aubrey Dayle (drums) keep things sounding familiar through the twists and turns.

This article originally appeared in VG’s Oct. ’08 issue.  All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine.  Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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